Google announced in March this year that Universal Analytics (UA) properties will be deprecated at the end of June 2023. So as of July 1, 2023, Google’s only option for analytics will be Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Whether you are a marketer or a business, this change is not something to put off until the deadline is approaching. If you want to have year-over-year data available once July 1, 2023, starts, you need to have a GA4 account up and running by the end of this month. Before you panic, here is an introduction to the platform and some help migrating to the new system.
Why do we need Google Analytics 4?
Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the next generation of analytics properties from Google. Most companies with current analytics accounts use Universal Analytics (UA) properties. While many have been hesitant to move into the new setup, GA4 will be our only analytics option from Google as of July 2023. It is also important to create a backup of your UA property data using a third-party service, as Google will be removing all Universal Analytics data as of December 1, 2023. We recommend getting familiar with the platform as soon as possible to avoid data loss and ensure a smooth transition from UA to GA4.
How do I create a new GA4 account?
If you currently have a Universal Analytics account, you already have access to the Google Analytics 4 setup wizard. From your Google Analytics account, you just need to create a new property for your website or app. Google has step-by-step instructions for GA4 setup, but the setup wizard will walk you through the process directly in analytics as well.
How do I add GA4 to my sites?
Once your new GA4 property is created, you are provided a tracking code, just like with older properties using Universal Analytics. You will need to create tags, which is easiest to do from Google Tag Manager (GTM). If you are not yet utilizing GTM, we really recommend it. Not only does GTM allow for in-depth tagging of events and conversions in UA properties, but it also provides helpful insights into GA4 as well. As a bonus, Google Tag Manager works for sites built in everything from WordPress to a custom CMS like Auctori.
Can I track the same goals in GA4?
GA4 uses event-based data modeling, meaning metrics like page views from Universal Analytics are instead tracked as an event in GA4. Setting up GA4 is relatively simple and automatically tracks some common events from the moment you tag your website. The automatically-tracked events are not always the most valuable to your business, so it can take some refining to ensure you can see all points before conversions. We are happy to help with event tracking questions, especially for complicated eCommerce and PPC funnels.
Planning for the transition to Google Analytics 4 can sound overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider and learn about the new platform. No matter your business, GA4 appears to be the future for analytics, which will be vital to your online performance. If you take the small step today toward planning for GA4, you will have fewer bumps in the road next year.
We are happy to help you navigate the changes and set them up to ensure a solid foundation for your data collection. Contact our team to discuss what GA4 means for your business!